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A phenomenographic approach to the meaning of death: A Chinese perspective

By Shu Ching Yang, Shih-Fen Chen

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Investigated qualitative and quantitative differences in Chinese children's concepts of death, as reflected in their drawings, and analyzes this conceptual development as it related to background variables (gender, age, religious belief,and health status). 239 children (aged 8-16 yrs) in 6 grade groups were recruited from primary and junior high school. Ss were asked to draw their impression of the word "death" and to give a verbal commentary of what they had drawn. The drawings were analyzed using a phenomenographic method and assigned to 1 of 3 superordinate and 12 subordinate qualitative categories. Results indicate that metaphysical and biological death concepts dominated while psychological death concepts were depicted least. Consistent with previous studies of the development of concepts of death in children, biological death concepts were most common for the younger age groups, and metaphysical death concepts were found predominately in the older age groups. Chi-square analysis revealed no significant differences among death concept categories as a function of the participants' gender, health status, religious belief, funeral attendance, or prior death of relatives or pets. The results are interpreted as providing a unique window on death concepts among Chinese children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title Death Studies
Volume 26
Issue 2
Pages 143-175
ISBN/ISSN 0748-11871091-7683
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/074811802753455253
Author Address Yang, Shu Ching, National Sun Yat-sen U, Graduate Inst of Education 70 Lien-hai Rd., Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C. 804,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. China
  3. Concepts
  4. Death
  5. Drawing
  6. Gender
  7. Health
  8. Health status
  9. Human sex differences
  10. peer-reviewed
  11. Phenomenological Research
  12. Religions
  1. peer-reviewed